The 29-year old who joined from Salgaocar FC this year has cemented his place in East Bengal's three-pronged attack that also features Edeh Chidi and Manandeep Singh. The former Bagan man has started all 6 games for the Red and Gold this season but has so far not got his name on the scoresheet yet.
East Bengal took their time to get off their markers with a draw on the opening week against Sporting Clube de Goa followed by a series of narrow victories against United Sikkim FC and Pune FC. The Kolkata club drew against Dempo at home in a match known more for its questionable refereeing and other off-field events that followed. East Bengal finally found their feet against Air India and followed it up with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Churchill Brothers.
When asked about how the team turned their performances up by a notch, Ishfaq told Goal.com, "I think we should have won the Sporting game. Sometimes it's just not your day. Sporting are a good team and will be more dangerous with the arrival of all their new foreign players. But I feel a point in an away game is a point well earned."
The Red and Gold strikers Manandeep Singh and Edeh Chidi are amongst the goals, but Ishfaq is happy playing in his new role as a Holding midfielder alongside Harmanjot Khabra and Mehtab Hussein.
"In my earlier clubs I used to play regularly, sometimes as a proper winger or attacking midfielder. I'm just enjoying myself a lot playing in a holding midfielder role here at East Bengal," said the 29-year old.
The striker attributed this fact and East Bengal's success so far to coach Trevor Morgan and his teammates. "Morgan sir is an amazing coach. He has a plan for each player. He knows what are the strengths of each player and designs a plan based on that. As long as we follow his plan we are confident of doing well. The attitude of the team is just fantastic and I'm enjoying being a part of this group," praised Ishfaq.
|Ishfaq Ahmed hailed the influence of coach Trevor Morgan on the club|
Ishfaq will be sure to take the pitch when East Bengal face ONGC FC at the Salt Lake Stadium this weekend as he his take on Saturday's game. "It will be a tough match. We faced them once during the Federation Cup and they gave us a fight. They got a very good win last week against Dempo, so their confidence will be high. We will have to make sure that we take our chances," opined the former Bagan striker.
Karim Bencherifa's unveiling as the new coach of Mohun Bagan has been the talk of Kolkata in the last week. Ishfaq has played under the Moroccan but refused to draw any comparison with his current coach Trevor Morgan. "Every coach has his style and system. I have played under Karim and won a lot of things. Similarly I have won under Morgan Sir too. Both of them are wonderful coaches and I'm sure they will do well," said the striker.
When asked who were his role models, Ishfaq stated that he enjoyed watching Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp play at Arsenal. However Ishfaq also idolises Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan. "I enjoy watching them play. They are amazing sportsmen. I'm happy after hearing some news that Henry might come back to Arsenal in January," signed off Ishfaq.
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